Session 3: Second Complaint
We haveseen Habakkuk’s first complaint that God doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the rampant evil going on. And we have seen God’s response to that complaint which basically tells us that God has a plan. This session covers Habakkuk's second complain about Babylon. Even though Habakkuk is voicing his complaint in his prayer closet, he is beginning to move in his heart to watch what God will do.
- Play: Session 3 Video
We’re working through the Minor Prophet, Habakkuk under the theme, “Pray Yet.” We have seen Habakkuk’s first complaint that God doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the rampant evil going on (1:1-4). And we have seen God’s response to that complaint (1:5-11), which basically tells us that God has a plan. That plan is to judge God’s people with a people worse than God’s people, namely Babylon.
This causes a personal crisis for Habakkuk. He comes unglued. He knows that Judah is bad, but,I mean, after all, Babylon, really? That would be similar to using Sin City to judge Mayberry. It wouldn’t seem to make sense.
This is the part of the book I imagine that Habakkuk is saying to God, “Say What?” Let’s read the text (1:12-2:1). We might just go at this verse by verse.
- Habakkuk is going to be respectful to God as he questions God, which is always the way to go. He acknowledges that God is eternal, holy, and the rock. So, his angst is this: If God is eternal,holy, and a rock, how will he use such a terrible nation as Babylon?
- So, in case God has forgotten how wicked Babylon is, Habakkuk takes it upon himself to remind God how wicked she is in relation to a holy God.
- God’s eyes are pure. God can’t tolerate sin. God can’t even look at evil. God’s normal way is not to sit idle and watch evil go on. He usually steps in and does something about it. God is not in the habit of remaining silent when the righteous are being swallowed.
- We might also want to note here that Habakkuk seems to be tipping his hand to note that God is willing to allow even his holy remnant (through whom the Messiah will come) to suffer some.
- Habakkuk acknowledges in these verses that he knows how vicious Babylon is. The metaphor he draws upon is that of fishing. That may not be so far removed from our world. In the realm of computers today we talk about phishing. It has to do with cyberscams.
- From Habakkuk’s world archeologists have uncovered monuments that show fishing hooks in human lips. It is a symbol of Babylon. The idea is that if Babylon hooks you, you won’t be able to escape. You mean God allows Babylon to exercise his will?
- It would seem that God makes humankind like fish—they swim around like they are masters of their own destiny. He makes crawling things, and it would seem that they have no one ruling them. But that could not be farther from the truth. God is not in “to catch and release.” God catches and uses for his own purposes.
- God hooks them, puts them in his net, and seems justified in how he wants to use them.
- Habakkuk is not sure what to do with this, but he decides to stand and watch the ways of God play out. He wants to know how to answer God.
God is amazingly consistent in character. He cannot stand in the presence of sin. So Babylon’s sins are not of no account to God.
But God is also incredibly patient. He can allow evil to go on for years, decades, and even centuries, and will even use the worst of situations to accomplish his purpose.
So, even though Habakkuk is voicing his complaint in his prayer closet, he is beginning to move in his heart to watch what God will do.
Abraham, Moses, and Job all questioned God, but they were respectful about how they did it. Can you give an example of a respectful question that you would have for God?
How do we know that God cannot stand in the presence of sin? What is it in the character of God that makes him be repulsed by sin?
Why do even God’s faithful people have to suffer along with others who are not totally committed to him? How is sin an equal opportunity destroyer?
How can God’s patience be seen in when he punishes and when he redeems? (Example: Jonah and Nahum regarding Nineveh.)
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